Harold Bennett is best known for being the principal race officer for five America’s Cup between 2000 and 2013. He was front and centre for Team New Zealand’s first defence of the Cup and also their dramatic loss in San Francisco more than a decade later meaning he oversaw racing as it transformed from monohulls to foliling catamarans. But there’s a lot more to Harold than the America’s Cup. He was this country’s first professional sailing coach, is credited with establishing the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron’s youth training programme, coached at five Olympic Games and more latterly has been heavily involved with the Manly Sailing Club and Russell Coutts Sailing Foundation.
Harold talks about some of his experiences at the America’s Cup, including the controversy, conflict and craftiness. He delves into the time when race officers he was working with refused to go into a start sequence, swearing on live TV and the pressure he came under with so much at stake. He also details his experience of taking the Pakistan sailing team to the Olympics, how he became involved in race management and how he got roped into working with Russell Coutts. And, of course, like all guests, he tells the story of his worst wipeout ever.